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Lenovo Ideapad Yoga 11S - Keyboard, Touchpad and Verdict

By Alan Martin

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

8

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11S – Keyboard

The keyboard is pretty good for an 11.6-inch laptop. Despite the limited space, we found it extremely comfortable to use, and we were able to get a decent typing speed with a little practice. We would have preferred a slightly larger spacebar though, as we hit the Alt keys by mistake a few too many times. There’s also a little flex in the keyboard’s base, particularly in centre, but not enough to cause alarm.

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11S – Touchpad

The touchpad is decent enough, but it does have a couple of issues. Over time it collects greasy fingerprints that not only look unsightly, but also make the pad feel sluggish as your finger doesn’t run as smoothly across its surface. The touchpad is also a bit smaller than is comfortable, making gestures inconsistent to pull off.

You do get used to these things and the actual left and right clicking works well, which of course is the most important part of any touchpad, but it feels a little out of keeping with the rest of the laptop which is so solidly made.

Other things to consider

As the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11S is both a tablet and a laptop, it would be remiss not to mention how well it works as a tablet. The answer is pretty well: it’s a bit thicker than a regular dedicated tablet, but then this is very much its secondary function. Holding the IdeaPad in tablet mode feels a little strange because you can’t help but touch the keyboard on the back. Not a problem: they’re deactivated when the screen is flipped.

The big advantage it has over a regular tablet is that the keyboard doubles as a particularly sturdy stand. The IdeaPad Yoga’s impressive flexibility means that you can set the screen angle to pretty much any height you like, which is perfect for video viewing, or showing presentations.

Should I buy the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11S?

The Lenovo Ideapad Yoga 11S is an impressive proposition for those who want a laptop and tablet in one, but would sooner carry one device. The fact you get a 256GB SSD and 8GB of RAM when most similar price laptops stick with 128GB and 4GB of RAM is nice, too. The battery life and performance falls a little short of the best ultrabooks, but it's a compelling alternative to other 11-inch laptops such as the 11-inch Apple MacBook Air.

The key question is whether you think a hybrid works for you, particularly given the scarcity of Windows 8 tablet apps. If not then the iPad 4 is still hard to beat in terms of app support and usability, but we’re also big fans of the Google Nexus 10 and Asus Transformer Pad Infinity, which offers a similar hybrid laptop experience - see our best tablets round-up for our picks.

And if you need a portable laptop more than a tablet then there are a couple of recent standout models we’d recommend, and both are over £100 cheaper: the Sony Vaio Pro 13 and the Samsung Series 7 Ultra NP740U3E - see our best laptops round-up for more alternatives

Verdict

If you’re looking for both an ultrabook and a tablet, but don’t want too many devices kicking around, the IdeaPad Yoga 11S is a great solution. It’s powerful and fully featured, with great flexibility. There are better tablets and ultrabooks, but this is as good as we’ve seen in a hybrid.

For more options, head to our Best Windows 8 laptops and tablets round-up

Overall Score

8

Scores In Detail

  • Battery Life 7
  • Build Quality 8
  • Design 9
  • Heat & Noise 6
  • Keyboard 8
  • Performance 8
  • Screen Quality 7
  • Touchpad 6
  • Value 8

John Donaldson

May 13, 2013, 7:38 am

This is the one I'm waiting for.

Peter Smith

May 15, 2013, 11:21 pm

Did they fix the wifi issue on this model? I had the 13inch but returned it do to very slow wifi (as I read many people do).

Andrea

May 24, 2013, 7:37 pm

Is it possible that the Yoga has a poor WiFi antenna compare with iPad?

Jordan

July 12, 2013, 2:01 pm

As a long-time IBM/Lenovo fan, the lack of the TrackPoint nubbin is a real disappointment for me. While maybe not a definite deal breaker, if it had one it'd pretty much mean competitors don't get a look in.

Jedibeeftrix

July 13, 2013, 8:31 am

great chassis, needs a 15W haswell.

James Billiard

July 14, 2013, 12:02 am

I've had the i7 version for about 3 weeks now, and this is a FABULOUS product. It is small, thin, light, beautiful, and everything works wonderfully. The wifi is fantastic, and the screen is beautiful. My only minor complaints are the glossy screen, the keyboard (which does have some annoying flex), and the lack of a track point. But this is an idea pad, not a thinkpad, so I guess that last one is unfair. The battery has worked out fine for me, and overall, I am just very, very happy with this machine.

Other ultrabooks are either the wrong size or price or something - this has an 11.6 inch screen, and is super portable, and is powerful as heck. The lack of a Haswell chip does not affect me since I wont be trying to do multiple video renderings or anything like that. Also, I rarely need more than 5 hours of battery life, so no issue whatsoever for me.

My biggest complaint, actually, is this stupid Windows 8 - but that's not a problem with the machine, is it?

MattMe

July 15, 2013, 8:25 am

It seems a strange decision to release this model now with an Ivy Bridge. I'd have thought waiting, if necessary, and then releasing a Haswell would have made much more sense. They could end up a year behind everyone or having to release a new model quite soon. I know the lack of Haswell would put me off any machine this year, even if you don't think you'd benefit from the newer tech yet, I think it makes a sensible investment long-term. Especially if you're paying these prices...

Brian O'Neill

July 18, 2013, 11:27 am

Hmm I am not convinced by these merge products. It sounds like you just end up with a mediocre laptop and tablet. For the same price you could get a pc ultrabook and an ipad.

colt24

August 21, 2013, 1:02 am

Hi James. just curious where you bought your lenovo from. was it at lenovo.com for 1099.00 havent read very good reviews about the company.

James Billiard

August 23, 2013, 7:29 am

I got it on Lenovo.com. I've now had it almost two months, and it is awesome. Honestly, it really is just a great ultrabook, I mean super, and the touch screen capability makes it a little better. The trackpad is a little soft and annoying, but that's my only complaint. The rest of the hardware is tough as nails, as I'd expect from Lenovo.

This issue of why it is no Ivy Bridge is really over blown. Battery life is great (circa 6 hours with regular productivity usage).

And honestly, the yoga positions are great to have, but I use them only once in a while when my daughter wants to watch youtube videos.

PogmoThoin13

October 26, 2013, 3:42 pm

When Lenovo can bring this down to a $500 price tag, I'll think about getting one. All these ultrabooks are overpriced (presumably because they're the latest tech toy to gain popularity)

Chris Litton

February 20, 2014, 3:12 pm

Just to inform you that picture 10 is in fact a different product. You have shown a picture of an Asus tablet and docking station. Looks like TR standards are slipping.

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